Remove blocked users from the Restricted users portal in Microsoft 365

Tip

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Applies to

If a user exceeds one of the outbound sending limits as specified in the service limits or in outbound spam policies, the user is restricted from sending email, but they can still receive email.

The user is added to the Restricted users page in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal. When they try to send email, the message is returned in a non-delivery report (also known as an NDR or bounce message) with the error code 5.1.8 and the following text:

"Your message couldn't be delivered because you weren't recognized as a valid sender. The most common reason for this is that your email address is suspected of sending spam and it's no longer allowed to send email. Contact your email admin for assistance. Remote Server returned '550 5.1.8 Access denied, bad outbound sender."

Admins can remove users from the Restricted users page in the Microsoft 365 Defender or in Exchange Online PowerShell.

Learn more on Restricted entities

A restricted entity is an entity that has been blocked from sending email because either it has been potentially compromised, or it has exceeded sending limit.

There are 2 types of restricted entities:

What do you need to know before you begin?

  • You open the Microsoft 365 Defender portal at https://security.microsoft.com. To go directly to the Restricted users page, use https://security.microsoft.com/restrictedusers.

  • To connect to Exchange Online PowerShell, see Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell.

  • You need to be assigned permissions in Exchange Online before you can do the procedures in this article:

    • To remove users from the Restricted users portal, you need to be a member of the Organization Management or Security Administrator role groups.
    • For read-only access to the Restricted users portal, you need to be a member of the Global Reader or Security Reader role groups.

    For more information, see Permissions in Exchange Online.

    Note

    • Adding users to the corresponding Azure Active Directory role in the Microsoft 365 admin center gives users the required permissions and permissions for other features in Microsoft 365. For more information, see About admin roles.

    • The View-Only Organization Management role group in Exchange Online also gives read-only access to the feature.

  • A sender exceeding the outbound email limits is an indicator of a compromised account. Before you remove the user from the Restricted users portal, be sure to follow the required steps to regain control of their account. For more information, see Responding to a compromised email account in Office 365.

Use the Microsoft 365 Defender portal to remove a user from the Restricted users list

  1. In the Microsoft 365 Defender portal at https://security.microsoft.com, go to Email & collaboration > Review > Restricted users. To go directly to the Restricted users page, use https://security.microsoft.com/restrictedusers.

  2. On the Restricted users page, find and select the user that you want to unblock by clicking on the user.

  3. Click the Unblock action that appears.

  4. In the Unblock user flyout that appears, read the details about the restricted account. You should go through the recommendations to ensure you're taking the proper actions in case the account is compromised.

    When you're finished, click Next.

  5. The next screen has recommendations to help prevent future compromise. Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) and resetting the password are a good defense.

    When you're finished, click Submit.

  6. Click Yes to confirm the change.

    Note

    It might take up to 24 hours for all restrictions to be removed from the user.

Verify the alert settings for restricted users

The default alert policy named User restricted from sending email will automatically notify admins when users are blocked from sending outbound mail. You can verify these settings and add additional users to notify. For more information about alert policies, see Alert policies in Microsoft 365.

Important

For alerts to work, audit log search must to be turned on. For more information, see Turn the audit log search on or off.

  1. In the Microsoft 365 Defender portal at https://security.microsoft.com, go to Email & collaboration > Policies & rules > Alert policy. To go directly to the Alert policy page, use https://security.microsoft.com/alertpolicies.

  2. On the Alert policy page, find and select the alert named User restricted from sending email. You can sort the policies by name, or use the Search box to find the policy.

  3. In the User restricted from sending email flyout that appears, verify or configure the following settings:

    • Status: Verify the alert is turned on Toggle on..

    • Email recipients: Click Edit and verify or configure the following settings in the Edit recipients flyout that appears:

      • Send email notifications: Verify this is selected (On).
      • Email recipients: The default value is TenantAdmins (meaning, Global admin members). To add more recipients, click in a blank area of the box. A list of recipients will appear, and you can start typing a name to filter and select a recipient. You can remove an existing recipient from the box by clicking Remove icon. next to their name.
      • Daily notification limit: The default value is No limit but you can select a limit for the maximum number of notifications per day.

      When you're finished, click Save.

  4. Back on the User restricted from sending email flyout, click Close.

Use Exchange Online PowerShell to view and remove users from the Restricted users list

To view this list of users that are restricted from sending email, run the following command:

Get-BlockedSenderAddress

To view details about a specific user, replace <emailaddress> with their email address and run the following command:

Get-BlockedSenderAddress -SenderAddress <emailaddress>

For detailed syntax and parameter information, see Get-BlockedSenderAddress.

To remove a user from the Restricted users list, replace <emailaddress> with their email address and run the following command:

Remove-BlockedSenderAddress -SenderAddress <emailaddress>

For detailed syntax and parameter information, see Remove-BlockedSenderAddress.